Value from byproducts of the Southern Wine Grape Industry

Project Overview

Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2006: $9,925.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2009
Region: Southern
State: North Carolina
Principal Investigator:
Ben Webb
Sandy Cross Vineyard


  • Fruits: grapes


  • Education and Training: demonstration

    Proposal summary:

    We propose to help solve two problems linked to sustainability. The problems to be addressed by this project are as follows; (1) health claims are being made about Southern grape byproducts without good scientific research to back up the claims, thereby limiting the market for the byproducts and (2) over 50 percent of the grape, by weight is discarded in the juice and winemaking process, which leads to disposal costs and water quality problems that are becoming expensive and threatens the survival of the Southern wine grape industry. Resveratrol, quercetin, ellagic acid and other antioxidant compounds have shown to have tremendous health benefits. It is reported that these healthy antioxidants are in Southern grapes. Scientific studies are needed to demonstrate to the farmer and the public how much potentially beneficial material actually exists in the Southern grape, like Muscadines. Large quantities of secondary byproducts do not have a marketable value and are considered an environmental problem for water quality and disposal. This byproduct could produce additional income for the Southern farmer and improve the health for our citizens if health benefits can be scientifically proven. Our proposal is to resolve these two problems simultaneously by testing and demonstrating that the byproducts from the Southern wine grape industry (skins, seeds) can be used to develop natural active components, nutraceutics, vitamins, antioxidants etc. Over half of the Southern grape, vitas roudaflora, is discarded in the wine making process. The use of a waste product would increase the value of the Southern grapes/wine industry by developing marketable products which could be the basis for healthy food products or dietary supplements and aid in the reduction of residues for the environment thereby improving water quality and reducing disposal cost for the producer. The project is tailored to study the grape that is native to the South, the muscadine. We will measure the amount of healthy antioxidants in the dried wine grape byproducts. We will know if we have been successful if the amount and levels can be measured in high enough levels to improve the health of people and animals. The amount of resveratrol the concentration of quercetin (considered very biologically active antioxidant); ellagic acid and others will be compared with other similar products on the market. resveratrol is the antioxidant that is in wine that is reputed to keep your red blood cells from sticking together, thereby reducing the risk of heart attacks for the consumer.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.